Madison Sister’s Cities: A Reflection on the Recently Concluded Sister City Trip to Kanifing, The Gambia
February 15 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Date/Time: February 15th 2023, @12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Speakers:Rep. Samba Baldeh and Mr. Jerreh Kujabi
In 1998 the City of Madison established a Sister City Program. Current Sister City Programs are; Arcatao, El Salvador (1986), Bahir Dar, Ethiopia (2018), Camaguey, Cuba (1994), Freiburg, Germany (1988), Kanifing, The Gambia (2016), Mantova, Italy (2001), Obihiro, Japan (2003), Tepatitlan, Mexico (2012), Vilnius, Lithuania (1988), and Cusco, Peru (2021).
In accordance with City of Madison Resolution 44907 in 1998, “Madison has established and supports Sister City relationships in the belief that person-to-person ties are the strongest and to work for peace and better understanding of all cultures. Sister City relationships are created to develop lasting friendships on the human level and to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and views”.
In 2015, current State Assembly District 48 Representative Samba Baldeh was elected as the first African to represent an aldermanic district at the Madison City Council. At the time of his election, no sister city relationship existed between the city and any city on the continent of Africa. He worked hard to change that. At the time of his departure from council, he helped establish two sister cities; one in his native country of The Gambia and the other in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia.
Since the establishment of the relationship between Madison and Kanifing, Madison has had the pleasure of hosting visitors from Kanifing, also known as Kanifing Municipal Council or KMC, several times. While visitors from Madison have been to KMC, we have never sent an official delegation – until recently.
From November 27 to December 3, 2022 a delegation from the City of Madison traveled to Kanifing to strengthen ties and deepen collaborative efforts. Delegates included Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Deputy Mayor Linda Vakunta, Elders Barbara Harrington-McKinney and Charles Maydze, Library director Greg Mickells, Department of Civil Rights Director Norm Davis, Office of Business Resource manager Saran Ouk, State Representative Samba Baldeh and leaders in the Madison community, including representatives from Dane County, Madison College, local nonprofits, and businesses. The Office of State Representative Samba Baldeh, the Madison-Kanifing Sister City group, the Mayor’s office and partners in The Gambia, including Kanifing Municipal Council, Banjul City Council, the Ministry of Higher Education, and the University of The Gambia, coordinated the trip. All planned activities aimed to deepen connections between policy makers, elected officials and staff working on issues of shared concern to both Madison and the Kanifing Municipality.
Samba Baldeh is the Representative for the 48th Assembly District in the State Legislature. This district includes the eastern and northern parts of Madison, including the Village of Maple Bluff. He is a native of The Gambia, in Western Africa, and immigrated to the United States 22 years ago. Rep. Baldeh’s educational and employment background is in informational technology and software engineering. He began his political career in 2015 when he was elected to the Madison Common Council (city council) and served for six years. He was elected to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 2020 and re-elected in 2022.
Jerreh Kujabi is a Network Engineer for the Sun Prairie Area School District with over 15 years of experience in Cisco Solutions design and implementation. He has previously worked for TDS, Wisconsin Department of Administration, and Berbee Information Networks Corporation in various IT roles. Jerreh is President of the non profit organization Madison-Kanifing Sister City Committee and the SeneGambia Association of Madison. He serves as Vice-Pesident of the African Association of Madison and is a member of the 100 Black Men of Madison.